If you are planning on putting up a new porch swing, you will need a certain amount of clearance so that your new swing doesn’t hit any walls or guardrails. When hung incorrectly, your porch swing may hit the walls and cause some damage to your home, which is why it is important to know the dimensions of your porch and porch swing before hanging it.
A porch swing needs 26 to 36 inches of clearance on the front and back to prevent the swing from hitting the walls of a home. There should also be 14 inches of clearance on either side of the swing to ensure that the swing does not rub against the walls or guard rails on the porch.
So when you are placing a porch swing, there are a few things to keep in mind so that the new addition won’t be a danger to itself or the building that’s next to it. You can keep everything in top condition when you provide enough clearance for your swing!
Where to Place a Porch Swing
Before you even purchase a porch swing, you must take measurements of the desired location of your swing. Measure out the length, width, and height of your porch, and then decide what size swing will be best for your porch. A good tip is to have about 3 feet (36 inches) behind and in front of the swing and 14 inches on each side of the swing. This ensures that your swing will not scuff or damage your walls or guardrails. To have people’s feet comfortably touch the ground, the swing should sit between 17 to 20 inches off the ground.
If you have a lighter or smaller swing, you might want to make even more room (about 4 feet) for clearance because the lighter weight will make the swing sway higher than anticipated.
Once you have decided on the size of your porch swing, make sure you don’t purchase the swing until you have identified where the joists are in your ceiling. The best (and only) place to hang a porch swing is on the joists of the ceiling of the porch or deck.
If you don’t have any joists that allow your porch swing to stay away from the walls of your home, you will not be able to hang the porch swing from your home’s ceiling. Instead, you can choose to purchase a frame porch swing, which is a great option because you can choose to move it wherever you want instead of having it hang from the porch.
If you do have joists that allow you to hang a swing at least 26 to 48 inches away from the walls or guardrails of your porch, then you can successfully hang a new swing to your porch. First of all, use a stud finder to find the joists of your post. Once you have found those joists, be sure to mark them so that you can remember where they are.
Once the joists have been identified, it’s important to know if the joists will be able to withstand the weight of the swing and multiple people. The joists need to be able to withstand at least 500 pounds, if not more (we wrote about how much weight a porch swing can hold here). The joists should be at least 2×6 inches to ensure that they can hold a large load. If you want to ensure that your swing can hold a lot of people, you can always have a professional come and see if your joists are large/strong enough.
What Porch Swing Size You Should Purchase
According to The Porch Swing Company, 4-foot swings are the most popular choice. However, you should choose a swing that seats the number of people that you want, depending on the size of your porch. You can either decide on a single-person swing, or you can choose a porch swing that fits multiple people. A good rule of thumb for the size is having about 2 feet per person, so a porch swing that is 4 feet long will typically seat 2 people.
When choosing a porch swing, it’s also important to keep in mind the clearance needed for the walls and guardrails of your home and porch. As long as you have enough room for 3 feet in front and behind and 14 inches on each side of the swing, your porch swing shouldn’t hit the walls or guardrails of your home.
How to Remove Porch Swings
If you have placed a porch swing that scuffs up against your house, then you need to relocate the porch swing to another location on your porch. To remove a porch swing, you will first have to lift the chains and swings off of the s-bolts. If there is a beam with a bit of clearance above the beam, the porch swing is most likely attached to an eye bolt (we also wrote about the best porch swing hardware in another article). If the swing was attached directly to the ceiling of the porch, then there will be two lag-and-eye bolts.
Here are the directions to remove each of those types of bolts.
Removing an Eye Bolt
An eye bolt is inserted in a hole that has been pre-drilled throughout the width of an entire beam. To remove these types of bolts, you will need to find the nut, which will be on top of the beam. The nut is reinforcing the eye bolt, so it will need to be removed first. Get an adjustable wrench and then fit it to the size of the nut.
Then, you will turn the wrench slowly counterclockwise (remember, righty tighty, lefty loosey). Make sure the nut completely comes off of the eye bolt. Once the nut comes off, start turning the eye bolt counterclockwise (either with a tool or a power drill).
Removing Lag-and-Eye Bolts
If you have drilled your porch swing directly into the ceiling, then you will simply use an adjustable wrench and fit it to the eye of the bolt. Then, turn the bolt counterclockwise until it comes out of the joist.
Be sure to never use the same holes again for your bolts when hanging a porch swing. You will need to find a new location for the bolts because the pre-drilled holes are now compromised and will not be able to safely hold the weight of a porch swing.